My parents were born during the depression, uneducated, and they both came from large families with little money. Their way of spending money influenced me to always think twice about purchases. I often recall my mother saying we had to wait, for something we needed, until my father got paid. One main thing, like them, I do not buy anything I cannot pay for at that moment. Live within your means, was/is their motto. This lead me to manage money, and as a result I am proud of my efforts. Proud that I pay for everything on my own, and live within my means.
I aways had a second job, since I was in college, which was a benefit to my well-being. I think the need to support myself, since I could not depend on my parents, and pay for everything along the way, gave me the motivation to seek a second job. The benefits of doing so, not only helped me save money for the full downpayment for my home, but it also lead to many human service part-time jobs that boosted my resume. These include group home counselor for the mentally ill; assessment of people who got DWI’s; lecturing on alcohol and drugs to these folks, etc. I must say all those lectures primed me to speak in front of others! In 1988 I started my private psychotherapy practice, which I still do along with paid trainings for social workers, and fee-for service evaluating manuscripts for a publisher. Every semester I teach an extra course, for pay, at the CUNY Graduate Center, and often do a summer session course. All of these jobs make me happy and satisfied. As for the money, it helps me figure out what purchases I can allow myself to make and feel happy obtaining something new, eating out, socializing, etc. Money can help me make the memories I want to make.
Still today I watch what I spend. I make it a game. I look for a deal. I try to be a bargain shopper and feel great when it all comes together. I’ll buy a lot of an item when it is on sale. For instance I’ll buy tons of toilet paper. (Hey, $11. for 20 rolls that cost $16. How could I NOT buy 80 rolls when toilet paper is always needed!) Recently cherries, which tend to be expensive-and I pass them by, were only $2.00 a pound. I bought a bunch and froze them! BTW, I have rocks in my toilet tank not only to reduce my water bill, but it is environmentally friendly. Try it.
My clothes are also bargains. Believe it or not, the large Walmart stores have some nice jeans/pants for under $20.00. The other day I wore a $10.00 dress to the college that was a Macy’s mark down from $125. I dye my own hair. Do home repairs as best as I can. I transfer money into my retirement fund, from every paycheck. That’s so I can make sure I have the joy of spending money later!
Now, don’t go thinking I am a cheap skate. While I am not high maintenance, I do spend money. My dog’s vet bills are high. I knew this going into obtaining the breed (English Bulldog) and I do not regret a penny. My dog is my gift to myself. I will get my nails done. I do take trips. I order out for food. Sometimes I don’t care if I have to pay $40.00 for parking.
So, I feel great when I get a bargain. I feel okay when I ‘throw’ money away (splurging), when I choose. I think ‘it all evens out in the wash.’ Now, I could be more pro-active, but I don’t want to turn into one of those coupon ladies. Nor do I want to have stress by buying what I can’t afford. Waiting and sacrificing until I have the money is so much easier. So, how I spend (and save-which I see is a form of spending) can make me content, happy, stress-free and blessed. (Got to go and get some of those cherries out of the freezer. I’m hungry!)